Monday, August 20, 2012

Closing Ceremonies - Olympic Thanks

Alright everyone. It's been a while, but after a good amount of time without a blog post, I need to wrap it all up until my blog is needed once again. 
It's time for me to hand over the torch (so to speak) to some of my good friends on their way to the Paralympic Games in London to compete soon!  Wish them all luck! (Especially my good friend Jessica Long!) GO USA!!!

Me at closing ceremonies!
Closing was great, it was basically like a big concert! There were performances by so many people, the Spice Girls even made a showing! People broke out into song and dance at random. Unlike the Opening where the athletes walked in as countries and was moved into the center, the closing was literally a free for all. Me and a few other athletes actually momentarily lost the rest of our delegation on the walk from the village to the Stadium! It was a gigantic athlete mosh pit the entire way in and during! Russel Brand also rode in on a 70's like painted bus, which was super entertaining. There was so much going on the entire time I can't even remember it all! Though I do have to say, not really sure what the glow-in-the-dark Gigantic Octopus that came out of that bus had to do with anything haha though it was memorable!

Also probably one of my favorite things, it was before they extinguished the flame, they had opened the torch into a blossom basically, and had a Phoenix (on fire mind you!) over it. With the Olympic rings as it's back ground, another favorite picture moment:

Some person's hand/camera got in the way!
It's so cool looking! Maybe I'm just a sucker for night time photos. And the rings and Phoenix mix both my favorite things. The Olympic Games, and Harry Potter. (goodness I'm a nerd! haha!)

On a slightly different note, after a long journey from Indianapolis to Mentor, Ohio for a friends bridal shower, and then from there to good ol' Oklahoma City I'm finally home. Lots of driving, and LOTS of music on shuffle. I also put Pandora to work and listened to a large amount of comedy acts on my lonesome drive across country. It gave me time to think of all the people that have helped me get to where I am today. A few days ago, m
y duet partner Mariya sent out a large list of Thank You's, and I felt like it was a great idea. So as much as I know she hates it when I copy her, I'm copying her idea anyway. :)


My Parents - 
For always believing in me. You've done so much for me and supported me through everything I've ever done!
George - For putting up with my craziness, and being the best shoulder to lean on whenever I needed you
Coach Robert Coleman - My favorite Coach, someone who even though I'm not in the same sport has been one of my biggest supporters through my Olympic Journey
Duke Zielinski - For the amazing amounts of support I've received over the last few years, and thank you for how much you've cared about the girls on the National Teams through your term as President of USASynchro
Karen and Sarah - For showing me around London, and providing amazing insight to the ins and outs of being an Olympic athlete
Sue Baross Nesbit - 
For graciously helping the 1st National Team by Mayu's side at the Olympic Qualifiers in London
Cate - You have been the best alternate athlete I could dream of. You were always so happy to help in any way you could
Holly Heitzman - For keeping me in one piece and being our "table psychologist" :)
Chris Carver - For pushing me past my limits and caring so much about me through the ups and downs
Dana Hunt - My first Synchronized Swimming coach! You started this journey, and I still can't believe I've made it this far! Thank you so much for helping me begin turning my dream to reality
Claire Evans - The one who started this ENTIRE thing. The girl I've known since she was 6 years old and we swam on the same team together. The girl who got me involved in synchro and swam as my duet partner for the first few years of my career
Victoria Bowen - One of the many people I took Private Lessons from before I won Age-Group nationals in solo as the younger person in my age-group. Thank you SO much for helping me along the way
Anna Kozlova - Someone I've always looked up to, even before you became my coach. You were an Idol of mine, and have continued to be this day.
Bill May -For telling me at my first SCAmp to never put in a crane in my Solo, because I was bad at them. Look at me now! You've been a great support and amazing athlete to look up to
Joel Pashcow -For believing in me and our journey to the Olympic Games, and thank you for attending the Olympics to be supportive in person                            
St. Vincents - Everyone there has been supportive in all aspects of my life over the past year and a half. From injuries, to workouts, to nutrition, to psych, to even just being there as someone to talk to when I had a bad day. Y'all have been amazing
Ireland's NAC - For all of the support we have received as "Ireland's team" everyone was so nice and helpful, so glad I could represent the USA and Ireland together 

Pirouettes of Texas -The team that started it all, thank you to the entire team for supporting me even when I moved to California to train with SCA 
Santa Clara Aquamaids - Thank you for helping me reach my full potential with the elite level training and the dedication to the pursuit of excellence
My teammates -For always being there, cheering on the sidelines when we were doing those awful weight sets, and always being there with a smile on your faces
Special Thanks to ALL of my Duet Partners -- 2002-2005 Claire Evans (listed above), 2006/2007/2008 Nadia Rais, 2006 Ali Williams, 2009 Layla Smith, 2010 Meghan Kinney (Tech Duet), 2011 Megan Hansley, 2011 Lyssa Wallace, 2012 Mariya Koroleva (Listed Below) - Y'all have been so important on my journey through the years in Synchro, and I want to let you all know how much you mean to me. You've been with me through the best times, and the worst times, and it's made me a better person thanks to each and every one of you

And lets not forget my Coach:
Mayu - Who has been to the pool everyday with us during the last year and a half, and stood smiling on the side while we performed our routines

And Last but not least:                                                                               Mariya - My Olympic Duet Partner, who in the last year has shared with me the high's, and some extremely rock-bottom low's. You were there for me whenever I needed a hand squeeze, and we will forever be in the history books as 2012 Olympians. Glad you were there to experience it all with me 

One of my favorite Competition Pictures

Well that's all I have for now, hope everyone has enjoyed my blog and will follow me on Twitter (@marykillman) and like me on Facebook (/marykillman) !
Feel free to send me messages if you have any questions, or you just want to chat! The blog will not be closed down, just temporarily put aside until it is needed once again. My Olympic experience has definitely been one for the books, but I'm glad it happened. I'm so proud to be able to call myself an Olympic athlete, and have worked very hard to get to where I am today. So what do I do now?


Rio anyone? :D


Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympic Day - ??

Alright everyone! I'm sorry, I failed miserably over the last few days on updating this blog. My apologies. The last two competition days went by like a whirl wind!

Our prelims swim didn't go as well as we had planned, but finals we were super happy! To come as far as we have is fantastic, and I know this is an experience I'll never forget. Also, I remembered the knoxing thing! People have been asking what it actually looks like...crazy I know. But here ya go! Step by step.

The objects needed
So that's what it all looks like before the process begins. We have to make sure our hair is wet, and brush it up into a tight pony tail. I just use one hairband wrapped 4 times, but some uses 2 hairbands to make it extra tight! A comb is used to make sure your hair is smooth after the hairband is put in. After that's in place, I take my hair into two pieces, braid them separately, and then wrap them around into a bun. Using those hairpins to pin it in place before putting a hair net on it! (no, not over my entire head, just wrapped around the bun! Think ballerina.) Weird right? Then comes the Knox. 3 packets, and some borderline boiling hot water later, we end up with this:

Gooey Knox before it's put on our head

Looks disgusting right? Oh well! Then you have to take that paint brush (which some will recognize as a brush used for putting on hair color) and literally "paint" it on your head. It depends on the consistency of the knox, and how tightly you did your hair as to how well it's going to turn out. Spain's knox is always perfect, and I have yet to figure out how they do it. Until then, this is the end result!

Mind the crown...

My coach refuses to let hair fall into our face as we swim, so she tends to give us what we call a bobby-pin crown. The knox keeps our hair out of our face, but it does only take water to get it out. If you're in it enough, the knox melts right out! So if it's not a good knox job, you end up with hair in your face while you swim and that's just really not a pretty picture.

I'm sure I left out a few steps, like making sure you stir the water until you don't see any more bubbles, and use a comb to begin if you really need to get the knox deep into your hair, and how it starts out gooey and if you walk outside in the cold it'll automatically freeze to your head...details like that. haha but you get the idea!

Suits courtesy of my AMAZING mother!!!
I still don't think it's fully hit me that I can officially call myself an Olympian. It just feels like the end of another international competition! As if I'm going to go back home, take like 3 days off and go back to practice. Not how I'm going to be going home, packing my things, and then not really slowing down from visiting people until mid-september! Craziness I know. Really though I've had an amazing experience, and it's not over yet! Our competition is done, but there is still a few days left before we leave to go back to the States. There's also Closing Ceremonies to look forward to!!! I'll always remember that moment when we were standing on deck for our Finals swim though. Talk about energy.

How cool!?
That photo was taken by an NBC reporter who has followed my trip to the games from Dallas. Great guy!

Now that I'm done with competition, I can really enjoy London. I've been to the P&G house, where there's anything you could DREAM of. There's huge TV's, there's 3 different places to eat, gigantic pillows mixed in with the couches and tables and chairs, a salon, a Mancave, it's amazing. There's also a USA house, where all the USA athletes plus family and friends can go to relax and just hang out. They have a USA store there too. How awesome is that?

My parents were here to see me and I can't say how much it meant to me. We went sight seeing, and of course saw the most important things:

I knew I wasn't a muggle
Three cheers for all the Harry Potter geeks out there like me. haha! I was told I looked like Hermione Granger as a child, though I'm not sure how much like Emma Watson I look now. Either way, my parents made sure to head to Platform 9 & 3/4 because of how HUGE of a fan I am. I even perfected my british accent thanks to memorizing ALL of Hermione's lines in the first movie. I'm such a geek. And I'm totally okay with it! I wanted to really go on a full tour of all the Harry Potter movies scenes and what not, but we ran out of time and I wasn't able to. Oh well, we got the important sight seeing done anyways.

Okay, lets be honest. I'm one of the biggest Harry Potter fans you could possibly ever meet. So comparing the next picture with the one just above, it hits an all time tie.

Tower of London with the Olympic Rings
The Olympics have been my dream, and have officially become my reality. On my parents last night in London, we took a boat ride at night on the Thames and got to see the Olympic rings really shine. So out of the three pictures, this takes the cake no doubt. :)

Night time!
Talk about breath taking right?! My parents have a few photos of me in front of the rings, both day and night time views, but this might forever be one of my favorite pictures. And it was taken on my phone?! Oh technology.

Anyways, we've got a few days of down time, and then closing ceremonies. I'll be sure to take pictures! Hope yall have all enjoyed keeping up with my Olympic Journey, and thank you SO much for being a part of it through this entire time.

Until the next post!

Check out BSU at the Games: Under the Water with U.S. Synchro It's pretty awesome.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic Day 12 - Tech Duet

Well everyone, hope a bunch of people tuned into NBC to watch Mariya and I start off the Olympic Games for Synchronized Swimming! What a rush! I can't explain the energy that I felt as I walked out on deck.

But before that, we had a bunch of practice! We started out the day bright and early, alarms going off at 5:45 so that we could be hitting the water by 7:15. We had a short practice with music in the Competition pool, then we got out to knox. I know I promised some shots of the knox prep, but I'll try to get that to yall tomorrow.
Mayu got in on some of the action too and helped us pin our head pieces!

Mariya being pinned
We ate lunch, and then after all that was done, a few moments of relaxation (which lasted all of about half an hour) and then back to the pool. We had more warm-up time in the Comp pool, so that we could take our time and get even more used to our surroundings. This 30-45 minutes is basically a free for all. All the duets in that section are allowed in the pool at once, so if you're not careful you can run over someone! (Or be the unfortunate one who is run over...) Not a contact sport hmm? Haha

Luckily after that we had some down time to put our legs up, do our makeup:

Hey look it's ME!

and get ready for competition...but the prep isn't over yet!
2:00 rolls around and we're back in the pool matching and going over last minute things before we compete. We have to be in the last call room with 15 minutes till we swim, which in our case was the start of the entire competition! As I said earlier, I can't even explain to you how the entire moment felt. One point, we're in the ready room. Talking to each other about what we need to remember, where we need to press higher, making sure we remembered our walk out, and then it was time! We stood in this hallway for a few moments before actually walking out to the base of the platform stairs. There were SO many people!!! And so many American flags! Unfortunately, our family's were in the corner (with a great view of the diving well mind you, but we swim in the competition pool!) so they got a slightly far away angled view of our routine. So the big screen that showed the routine as we went was probably really helpful on their end!

Our Deckwork, Aretha would've been proud

Although, I do have a small warning. Don't watch the screen while you're competing! Our deck looks straight at the video, the problem is that it is slightly delayed, so what you see up there has already happened. Not gonna lie, there was a point during our walk out that I saw the screen and was VERY confused as to why my counts weren't matching up with what I saw. Thank goodness I didn't miss any steps because of it!

Then the music started, and we hit the water. We went through the entire routine, and hearing the cheers every time we came up was amazing. There were so many people behind the judges in the stands that you couldn't pick out just one person. It was a mass of colored dots. At the end, I could take it all in. We were done! The slow-mo replay at the end showed one of our elements looking amazing, so we both had a huge smile on our face as we walked up to get our scores. So did Mayu!

Captured off a friends phone, which is of her computer

Okay, not the best picture, but check out the applause! haha

After we competed, we had to wind through some media. Now, it's not as crazy as maybe some of the swimmers got, but we got our share. Answered some questions, and Mariya even spoke to a reporter in Russian. I really need to learn another language...

Our hard work isn't over yet though. Yeah, thought we were done after we competed hmm? Nope! We changed, and it was back in the pool to begin preparing for our Free routine tomorrow. Ankle weights on, and going through the routine. No worries, this happens at all competitions. Imagine what we would've been doing if this were a World competition, and we had two more team routines, and I might've had a solo as well to compete with!

Alright, well that's all I've got for today...I'm off to an early bedtime haha
G'night! Until tomorrow...FREE DUET!!!



Competition Schedule (All times local) - Aquatics Centre
Sunday, Aug. 5 - Qualification Duet Technical: 3-4:50 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 6 - Qualification Duet Free: 3-5:25 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 7 - Duet Final: 3-4:30 p.m.

NBC Broadcast schedule (All times Eastern)
Sunday, Aug. 5 - Qualification Duet Technical: 10-11:50 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Monday, Aug. 6 - Qualification Duet Free: 12:45-1:15 p.m., NBC
Tuesday, Aug. 7 - Duet Final: 4-4:45 p.m., MSNBC

* will also stream every event live online at:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympic Day 11

Unfortunately I don't have much time to write tonight. We compete in our Technical Duet even tomorrow, and I need my sleep! We're up first so we're going to be opening the Synchronized Swimming portion of the Olympic Games with what we hope is a show stopping routine! It's going to be upbeat, and amazing! So all yall USA supporters out there better be chanting when we walk out on deck!

I just opened a letter that I wrote to myself a while back. And as lame as it seems, it's actually really great. I remember writing it and thinking "This is ridiculous. I'm giving my future self a pep-talk!" But honestly, it's exactly what I needed. It also had a great quote in there:

"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win"
-Zig Ziglar

I haven't the slightest idea who that is, but it's words I'm taking to heart. Always see yourself standing on the podium, because the moment you think you can't make never will. On another note of Quotes, just because I'm in the mood right now, Denise (our awesome manager remember?!) wrote Mariya and I a card for every day that we're here. I forgot about the one yesterday, but they both have great quotes in them. She knows how much inspiration we need to be able to swim our best tomorrow:

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." 
-Darryl Royal

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit."

I like quotes! Although I have to say my favorite is still:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain."
-Vivian Greene

It is now time for me to head to sleep. However, if you follow me on twitter @marykillman you can keep up with me between practices tomorrow! I'll be at the pool bright and early, as my alarm is going off at 5:45. What is it with water athletics and early mornings hmm? Anyone have an answer?

Speaking of questions, I do have to answer a few:

To Krista, no I don't compete with a nose clip! Weird I know, maybe I'll post a picture of how I plug my nose, but you'll have to promise no laughing...actually don't promise that. It's impossible not to laugh at the funny face I make underwater haha! It's glorious above water though, you can breathe better AND you look better in action shots lol

My dear old teammate, Kelly, yes Ryan Lochte is as attractive in person as he is in pictures, and yes I have met Micheal Phelps. 22 Olympic Medals! Way to go Micheal!

As much as I would love to say I know all of the Olympic Athletes Jenni, I don't even know all of the USA delegation athletes. There's over 500 of us! I can't even imagine how many athletes from other countries there are walking around the Olympic Village every day!

Mary, we share a name, this is awesome. Haha, but to answer your question, no props are allowed in Synchro. There is one competition that the Sport holds once a year that allows props and all artistic talent to be set loose, we do try to keep Synchronized Swimming as athletic as it can be. Yes, we wear a lot of glitter, and crazy make-up, but it's hard what we do! And we wouldn't want to give too much of a cirque impression unless we are actually working for Cirque Du Solei. :)

That's all for today, sorry for no pictures, but you'll get plenty tomorrow. :) Wish Mariya and I luck and make sure to tune into  NBC Olympic Live Online Coverage! We swim at 3pm London time, so 10am Eastern, 7am West Coast! We're first draw so don't miss the beginning!!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Day 9/10

These posts are starting to come in pairs! Haha I'll be better. Promise! Although, be prepared for this one. It's gonna be long!

First off yesterday when we got back to village, I felt at home. It felt like where I was supposed to be. The village has such an energy that I can't even explain it. And I think I may have gotten the best view in the village. Of course I could just be biased. It is my room in the Olympic Village after all!

I love this view!!!

We got off the plane, and once again went straight to the pool. One day I'd like to know what it's like to get somewhere, and have time to unpack before I do anything else, but at the same time I'd probably get antsy wanting to get things started! I guess that day will come a long time from now. A day far in the future where I don't do Synchronized Swimming.

After we got to the pool, we had a total of 5 minutes of music time. Talk about stressful! We don't get much time in the competition pool before we actually compete because the swimmers have priority at the moment. They wrap up on the 4th, so us starting on the 5th won't be a problem. (I know you were all SO worried! :P) We practiced in that pool for a couple of hours then came back to the village to eat some lunch. Then it was to the practice pool! A synchronized swimmers work is never done! We had more music time there. The practice facility is awesome. It has a water polo pool, 3 50meter pools for swimming, and another pool strictly for synchro. I took pictures on my camera instead of my phone so y'all will have to just wait till after the games to see what it all looks like! I can show you the bus route we take everyday however:

Our bus line

Aaaaaaall the way at the end there, is where we meet our bus. Okay, so the picture makes it look much further away than it actually is. But look at all that PINK! Haha I'll never get over it.

Anyways, at the practice pool we share music time with Canada and France. It's kinda nice being back in a group where it's more than just Mariya and I in the water at one time. The Canadian girls even cheered for us during one of our swims! It was nice not to swim in silence. (well, if you can consider our blasting music silence) Athletes have to stick together after all.

Afterwards we had some treatment with Holly, making sure sore muscles are taken care of. And then I was so tired from our 4:30am wake up call that morning that I called some people and made really good friends with my stuffed Tiger (kudos to anyone who thinks up a good name for it!) and my pillow that I brought from home. Ergo why there was no blog post yesterday. I admit it! I fell asleep! :D

That tiger travels with me to EVERY competition
Then onto Today. We didn't have much time at all in the pool this morning. Only a few hours in the water and still sharing music with Canada and France. Afterwards we stayed in the pool a bit longer and worked on how we want to perform. We want to swim like we're tied for 2nd, and the next 3&1/2 minutes determine if we get a Gold medal or not. We always say we want to swim the best that we possibly can, and in order to do that, we have to prove to the judges we want it. That we want it more than anyone else does!

After we got out, we had an hour to shower, get back to the village, change, get presentable, and be back downstairs ready to go to a press conference. Somehow we managed to do it, but I'll tell you it wasn't easy haha! There's a lot of pool face that we have to cover up with makeup after being in the pool that long. Let's face it, no one is all that attractive after being chlorine, working out for the last 3 hours.

We had this press conference and as much as everyone likes to think everyone knows who we are, it was kinda empty. But thats okay, we got asked some good questions!

Speaking of questions, I've been asked multiple times on how to watch our swims when we compete! To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure when it is airing on Television, but here is the online schedule for those of you who are able to watch it live!

NBC Synchronized Swimming Schedule Online

Now I'm writing from the dining hall at the University of East London, where we're to meet up with Holly and Cate to get treatment and visit for a little bit. This is where a lot of the staff, judges, and alternate athletes, as well as a few competing athletes are staying. It's not in Olympic Park, but its still quite nice. It seems to be set up a lot like the village, but it's at a college. Haven't really seen anything much, but some of the pictures in the dining hall are of old Olympic Games moments. I probably couldn't tell you who they are of, or what year they were, but it's cool to see. I think each country has its own dining hall here, instead of a common one like we do in the village, so we're in the USA one obviously!

USA Pride on the table there!

Also on a slightly off topic, I wanna extend a SUPER HUGE good luck to Coach Robert's (who will forever be my favorite Swim coach) current Swim Belton swimming athletes Austin Couillard, who will be competing at Sectionals!!! I know how hard it is to pull off a sectionals cut. Congrats Austin! 

Until next time!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Day 8

I'd just like to start by saying that the Olympic Games haven't left my TV screen since we've been in Dublin. I've enjoyed watching Swimming the most I think, not only is it my old sport, but it's also the pool that Mariya and I are going to be competing in soon!!! How exciting!

It's the first day of August. We compete the 5th. I can wait until we get to the village, though I do have to say I could've waited until after 4:30 to wake up tomorrow morning...We have a REALLY early flight, then two practices once we get to London! Gonna be a full day, and I'm planning on going to sleep immediately after I finish this post. (Well, I do need to call my parents first...I'm glad they're coming to watch the Games!)
Our last day in Ireland really wasn't all that special, though we did get to sleep in this morning. That is if you can call 8am sleeping in. If you're an athlete, it TOTALLY IS!!! :D

When we get back to London, it's game on. We're going to have to give it our all for the next few days. The competition is going to come on us quickly, and I can't wait to be back in the competitive atmosphere! I feed off of the energy and it's actually where I feel the most comfortable. It can't get here fast enough!

Today, and a few days early, we celebrated Holly's birthday! She's our trainer, who has kept us together and in one piece every day. Seriously, I think I my hands would have been killing me after all the muscles she's had to massage out. 


She may shoot me (not really of course haha) for posting this photo, but I think it's needed. :)

Also, I know there haven't been many pictures this post, but I do have some questions to answer!!! Here goes nothing:
Do you and Mariya do exactly the same thing 100% of the time in your routines, or does Cate have to learn separate parts? And when there are alternates for a team competition, do those alternates have to learn every single person's part of the routine in case any single one of them are unable to compete? 
Short answer, alternates have to learn everyone's position! In our tech routine, Mariya and i do the same thing the entire time, as required in the ruling. In our free routine however, we have lifts, and partner sections, and things where we're doing COMPLETELY different things! Cate has to be prepared in case (God forbid) something happens to either one of us. Alternates in a team work the same way, normally a team of 8 has 2 alternates. Both of these girls MUST know everyone's position. In free routines this gets a little insane with people flying off lifts and certain people having certain things they HAVE to do. I would honestly say being an alternate is the hardest position in Synchronized Swimming.

What's the hardest thing you have to do in Synchro?Honestly, everything is hard! haha There are moves like a spin, where both feet are in the air and we're spinning rapidly, that are difficult. Doing things like that at the end of the routine, is difficult. Then doing it when you're muscles are aching, your lungs are screaming, all with a smile on your face...there's hard for ya.

Alright, one last thing before I sign off for the night.
I would like to give a shout out to Denise Shively (our AWESOME manager) who tirelessly hangs around at the pool all day, goes and makes sure we have water and food almost at all times, and is an amazing mom-like figure for us to have around. Unfortunately she isn't going to be able to be with us in London, so after we are all sent off to London, she will be making her way back to the states to watch us compete from a TV screen. Wish she could be there! I can't imagine how I would've gotten this far without her at some of our competitions. She's a great manager, and an even better stand in Mom for us. I definitely need my share of Momma Shively hugs. Her children are so lucky!
Speaking of moms, can't wait to see mine. :)


P.s. Keep the questions coming! I'm happy to answer any questions you may have!